Monday, June 29, 2020

FDR or Teddy ?

One of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal programmes was the Works Progress Administration, started in 1935 and wound down in 1943. At its height, 3.3m Americans worked for the WPA. They put up more than 4,000 school buildings, 130 new hospitals, dug 9,000 miles of drains and sewers, created 150 new airfields, paved or repaired 280,000 miles of roads and planted 24 million trees. 

There was also an artistic side to the WPA, a programme known as Federal One. It employed 5,300 visual artists and related professionals, established 100 community art centres. In terms of architectural investment, the New Deal delivered the Hoover Dam, the John Adams Building of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and the San Francisco Mint.

It's hard to believe that the Cummings Administration has a commensurate programme of shovel-ready projects. 

Or perhaps, it's the earlier Roosevelt that Cummings admires. Theodore (Franklin's fifth cousin, once removed) became President in 1901, and established 150 national forests, 51 federal bird reserves, 4 national game preserves, and 5 national parks. In all, he protected 230 million acres of public land. That would be nice here. 

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